The law before Miranda v. Arizona:
Justice Robert Jackson, Nuremberg Prosecutor, Supreme Court Justice:
"Any lawyer worth his salt will tell the suspect in no uncertain terms to make no statement to the police under any circumstances." Watts v. Indiana, 338 U.S. 49
Unfortunately, the police were talking to people before the lawyer worth his salt.
In Miranda v. Arizona the US Supreme Court said that if in custody and being questioned, a person had to be warned of a right to an attorney and a right to remain silent.
As generally used today:
- You have the right to remain silent and refuse to answer questions. Do you understand?
- Anything you do say may be used against you in a court of law. Do you understand?
- You have the right to consult an attorney before speaking to the police and to have an attorney present during questioning now or in the future. Do you understand?
- If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be appointed for you before any questioning if you wish. Do you understand?
- If you decide to answer questions now without an attorney present you will still have the right to stop answering at any time until you talk to an attorney. Do you understand?
- Knowing and understanding your rights as I have explained them to you, are you willing to answer my questions without an attorney present?
Did you know that the police don't have to "read you your rights?" It isn't like on TV. Here is a PDF version of a card I give to people about this.
Why the police have to "read him his rights."
Take a look at Chief Justice Earl Warren's handwritten notes to Justice Brennan from the Miranda case. See Justice Brennan's response, too, if you like.
If you wish to remain silent it is not enough to remain silent! You must say you want to exercise your right to remain silent! Magic Phrases if you are Stopped by the Police.
Miranda v. Arizona - The court's full decision.
What are Miranda rights and who is Miranda? - Law for kids
Why people continue to talk even after they are read their Miranda rights.
What are Miranda rights - American Bar Association
Is it wise to have a lawyer with you during interrogation or questioning? - ABA
Kiss those Miranda rights goodbye - privatization of American law enforcement - Salon.com article
False confession of a juvenile and police interrogation tactics - the Michael Crowe case - Court TV
Miranda Rights Reread - the Dickerson case - opinion piece in The Nation
Advice on talking to the police from Madison, Wisconsin, criminal defense lawyer.
A Summary of Miranda Cases and Selected Issues by Robert Donohoo 2012
Finally, here's a bit of humor on the Miranda rights:
And if that isn't enough, here's a whole book: But they Didn't Read Me My Rights!
Charles Kyle Kenyon - When Experience Matters
Attorney at Law
5555 Odana Road, Suite 101
Madison, WI 53719-1281
Telephone (608) 276-9645
Former (Elected) District Attorney
Former Assistant State Public Defender
Extensive jury trial experience in cases ranging from traffic to sexual assault / homicide
Thousands of criminal cases since 1979
Appeals in Wisconsin Court of Appeals and Supreme Court
Trainer / presenter / panelist for American Bar Association, National College of District Attorneys, Wisconsin Department of Justice, Wisconsin Public Defender
Founding Director - Children's Law Section - State Bar of Wisconsin
Past-President: Marinette County Bar Association, Door-Kewaunee Bar Association
Life Member: National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL)
Member: Wisconsin Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (WACDL)
Member: State Bar of Wisconsin, Dane County Bar Association
Admitted to practice: State of Wisconsin, Federal - Eastern District of Wisconsin, Western District of Wisconsin, 7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Certified to administer roadside Field Sobriety Tests in Wisconsin
Criminal Defense - DUI / OWI Defense Lawyer
Proud to be a
Expert Adviser - Serving You
This is a living hypertext document. If you find any errors, of fact or in links, please contact me so that they may be corrected. Please also write to me for permission to copy. You can reach me by email: Lawyer at Addbalance.
page views since 7 May 2004